Better sleep is something we all need. We all try desperately to get it. Most of don't, though. That's because better sleep isn't just a matter of going to bed earlier. Getting better, restful sleep requires a little planning. Although it's a bit of a pain, that extra quality sleep makes life so much better all the way around.
Better Sleep - 6 Steps to Getting It
Restful sleep doesn't just happen. You have to do a little leg work - sometimes literally. Let's take a look at how we can train our bodies to sleep better, more deeply, and more restfully.
Get More Exercise
Exercise is an excellent tool for getting more restful sleep. Not only does exercise release a cascade of chemicals in our brains to fill us with energy and a sense of well-being, it also makes it easier to get better sleep. Exercise uses calories and puts our bodies in an active state of calorie burn. It basically turns our bodies on, so when it's time to hit they hay, our bodies are ready for a recharge.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
This is not just an old saying. Our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm. It spans a 24 hour period, and it's designed to let our bodies know when it's time to get down to hard work and when it's time to get some much needed rest. When you go to bed late - after 11 PM or midnight - you are actively throwing off your body's rhythm. Our bodies are designed to sleep when it's dark and wake when it's light. If you mess with that, you're going to have sleep issues.
Stress is a literal killer. Studies show that it actually shaves years off of your life. One theory on that is that excess stress prevents restorative sleep. Sleep, as we all know is when our body repairs itself, so if our sleep is restless from too much stress, we aren't being repaired. To get better sleep, work on reducing your stress. Some good ways to reduce stress are exercise, meditation, or doing something you enjoy like reading a book.
Use a Great Mattress
At the end of the day (or even for quick naps after lunch!) you need to have a high-quality bed that is going to support you and cushion your body so you can relax. I've been extremely happy with my Reverie mattress over the past few months. While it might sound a little bit like the "three bears", I've had springs that were too hard and memory foam that was too soft ... but these latex foam coils are JUST RIGHT.
This is going to be hard for all of us, but to get better sleep, you have to get up from the computer, put down the tablet, and generally get away from technology at least an hour before bed. Our computers, tablets, and phones, give off blue light. This light completely screws with out circadian rhythm by tricking our bodies into thinking it's still not time to go to sleep. These screens inhibit our production of melatonin, a key chemical that tells our bodies to go to sleep.
Take a Melatonin Supplement
Melatonin supplements can be a big help in getting better sleep. Melatonin is a chemical made naturally in our brains which signals us to go to sleep and helps that happen. Today's hectic lifestyle often inhibits melatonin production, so taking a melatonin supplement an hour or two before bed, when our bodies normally produce it, can help you fall asleep and get better sleep.
Better Sleep - You Can Get It
Better sleep can be elusive, but you can get it. You just need to take certain steps to ensure that your body is prepped for getting those zzz's. The steps above can prime your body for better sleep. Give them a try and see if you get better, more restorative sleep.